Moscow denies Russian or Syrian air strikes on Aleppo in past week
MOSCOW/BEIRUT – Reuters
Syrians who were living in the rebel-held side of Aleppo are seen inside an ambulance after nearly 50 people fled the rebel held eastern districts of the battered city into the government-controlled west on Oct 24. / AFP PhotoRussia said on Oct. 25 that Russian and Syrian military planes had not launched air strikes on Aleppo since Moscow said it was suspending bombing seven days ago, contradicting reports that air strikes in some areas of the city resumed on Oct. 22.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said Russian and Syrian planes had not even approached, let alone bombed, the devastated city since Oct. 18 when Russia suspended air strikes ahead of a pause in hostilities.
“Flights over Aleppo by the Russian and Syrian air forces have been completely halted for the last seven days,” said Konashenkov in a statement.
He said six humanitarian corridors in eastern Aleppo, which opened as the 48-hour ceasefire began on Oct. 20, were still operating. Around 50 women and children had left the city late on Oct. 24 escorted by Russian military officers, Konashenkov said.
But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said air strikes had resumed since the lull in fighting ended on Oct. 22, focusing on major frontlines, including in the city’s southwest. There had been no civilian deaths from air strikes inside eastern Aleppo, the monitor said.
U.N. aid agencies, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the Red Cross and other medical groups held days of negotiations to try to secure safe passage for the sick and wounded, but the effort came to a halt when fighting resumed.
“It is deeply regrettable that no patients or accompanying family members could be moved,” said Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s humanitarian aid coordinator.
“The evacuations were obstructed by various factors, including delays in receiving the necessary approvals from local authorities in eastern Aleppo,” he said.